This week on The World Famous Ultimate Twang, you’ll hear three hours’ worth of lost or almost lost country classics and gems. Great sounds that you haven’t likely heard in quite a while from the likes of Glen Campbell, Charley Pride, Gene Watson, Rosanne Cash, Ricky Van Shelton, Marie Osmond, and many more. You’ll hear insirational faves from Waylon, Red Foley, and The Brown’s Ferry Four, plus classic LP tracks from Merle Haggard, Jim Reeves, and Don Williams. In addition, having spent a little time thrift shopping, I’ve got a couple of 45’s that’ll get their first-ever play on the show from Red Sovine and Hugh X. Lewis. That thrift shopping, by the way, yielded quite a few 45’s and 78’s; I’ll have more to play on future shows. It kicks off at 4p ET, so make sure you join me, at the Asheville Free Media web site for 3 hours of commercial-free classic country music!
Categories: Artists, Music, & Radio Tags: Asheville Free Media, Charley Pride, Don Williams, Gene Watson, Glen Campbell, Hugh X. Lewis, Jim Reeves, Marie Osmond, Merle Haggard, Radio, Red Sovine, Ricky Van Shelton, Rosanne Cash
Greetings from Asheville, where there’s always good music to be found. Today’s Classic Album Review is a trip back to 1968, when Glen Campbell was one of the top up and coming talents. He had already scored two number one albums on the country lists, and Hey Little One would become number three. Released by Capitol Records in February, it was Glen’s eighth album release, and by June, it was the number one country album. Two singles came from the album, the title cut and “I Wanna Live”.
The album opens with the title cut, which also was the lead single, peaking at thirteen on the country charts in the early part of 1968. Mid tempo, with a definite folk feel to it. While it’s not as strong, lyrically, as some of his other hits, it’s a great melody and the performance from Glen Campbell is stellar.
Next, Glen covers the Bob Lind pop hit, “Elusive Butterfly”. While Glen’s work is fine, the overall performance loses a little of it’s flavor, with an arrangement that is more lush than the original.
From the song book of Hank Cochran comes “That’s All That Matters”. The song would later become a number one hit for Mickey Gilley, in 1980, and except for a slightly lusher sound, both versions are relatively similar. I like this track.
Glen is allowed to cut loose on his cover of the George Hamilton IV hit, “Break My Mind”. Very snappy, and a fun track. You like Glen Campbell music, you’ll really like this one.
“Take Me Back” is a nice little track, where the arrangement is held back, allowing Glen’s performance to shine, which it does.
You can argue that Glen Campbell is the second best-ever dramatic singer, behind only Roy Orbison. Occasionally, he could cross the line into overdramatic, but not here. His take on Bob Dylan’s “I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Met)”. Simply outstanding!
Side two opens with the album’s second single, which also became Glen’s first number one hit, “I Wanna Live”. While the song seems to run out of lyrics before it should, overall, it’s one of my favorite Glen Campbell hits and one of his more underrated performances.
I compared him to Roy Orbison in regards to dramatic performances, and here, you can make a head-to-head comparison, as Glen tackles the Orbison classic “It’s Over”. While you can’t touch the original, which I would argue may well be Roy Orbison’s best work, Glen gives an excellent interpretation, here. Truly one of the album’s highlights.
Glen co-wrote “Turn Around, Look At Me” and had released it as a single on the Crest label in 1961, which became his first chart single, breaking into the Top 100 pop charts. Of course, the best-known version was the top ten pop hit by The Vogues, but I think this remake by Glen is comparable to their version. Great song, great singer, great result.
“Woman, Woman”, of course, was the 1967 pop hit that introduced everyone to Gary Puckett & The Union Gap. But the song, itself, has country origins, having been written by Jim Glaser of the Glaser Brothers. Glen Campbell’s version is more of an Adult Contemporary version, a little lusher than the original. Still, a very good sound, though, and again, excellent vocal work by Mr. Campbell.
“The Impossible Dream” is a song that when done well, is nothing short of spectacular, but if not done well, it’s a train wreck. Glen Campbell does it well. A song that would be very tempting to oversing, but he avoids that, here, giving it a proper interpretation, but not overdoing it. And the arrangement also is restrained, too. A really nice wrap to the album.
This album has enjoyed a great shelf life, having seen life on vinyl, tape (8-track, reel, and cassette), compact disc, and now MP3. The album is part of a two’fer, packaged with A New Place In The Sun, on CD, while available as a solo offering on the MP3 format. Want to go retro and get vinyl or tape? I found used copies of vinyl, 8-track, reel-to-reel, and cassette. Most prices were $10 and under.
I really like both singles on this album, but I think “I Wanna Live” has to be the Standout Track. A tough choice between “I Don’t Believe You” and “It’s Over” for the Hidden Gem; I’ll go with “It’s Over”. I don’t really think there is a Weakest Track, here.
Overall, this is a really strong piece of work. All of the songs are strong and Glen really emits a feeling of putting everything into every track on this disc. Gentle On My Mind, his breakthrough album, was a very good album, but I think this one is even better, though it didn’t sell quite as much. I rate it a 5 out of 5.
Saving vinyl, one record at a time.
Greetings from Asheville, where it’s time for yet another Classic Album Review, and today, it’s a good one. May, 1970, is the release date for today’s gem, Roy Drusky’s All My Hard Times. The release was Roy’s second-to-last for Mercury Records. Peaking at twenty on the country albums list, the title cut was the only single, and it’s peak at nine, would be Roy’s last top ten hit.
The title cut is the opening cut of this album, and what a cut it is! One of my Roy Drusky faves. An oft-used theme, throughout the history of country music, where a man’s luck has been mostly bad in his life, but in this case, there’s hope! He’s found just the right woman and so now all is right. In all seriousness, though, it is a great track, resisting any temptation to fall into the pit of sameness, with many of the other songs of this subject. A nice gospel-ish feel, as well.
This album is loaded with cover versions, and one of the best on the album is Roger Miller’s “Lock, Stock, And Teardrops”. A loping tempo, with Roy Drusky singing on the lower end of his range, but still comfortably, I’d argue that this version is as good as the Miller original. A Hidden Gem contender.
Though not as fully produced as the Ray Price classic, I’d argue that in some ways, Roy Drusky’s take on “For The Good Times” possesses a just-as-smooth and slightly more relaxed feel to it.
The Roy Drusky take on the Merle Haggard classic “Silver Wings” is completely different than Merle’s. Of course, nothing to complain about, vocal-wise, but the finished product is a little too polished for me. Still, not terrible, though.
Another Hidden Gem contender is one of the album’s original tracks, “At Times Everybody’s Blind”. Great melody, with an easy mid tempo pace. In this case, the polish is just fine, resulting in an outstanding track that I would argue was a missed single opportunity. It was the B-side to the title cut.
Side one ends with Roy Drusky’s version of the Charley Pride hit “(I’m So) Afraid Of Losing You Again”. Nothing fancy, just a simple track.
Side two opens with another original, and in this case, a song that I wonder if there might have been plans to release it as a single. I say that, because “You’re Shaking The Hand” gets co-billing on the album cover. If that was indeed the case, then what a shame those plans were scrapped. Again, a track strong enough to be worthy of a 7″ release. Great, mid-tempo track, here.
Next, it’s a cover of the Glen Campbell hit, “Everything A Man Could Ever Need”. Not bad, but this track is missing something, and that something is the fuller arrangement of the original, which results in a richer sound. Slick and polished isn’t always bad, as long as it’s used on the right pieces.
It’s hard to say which is the best cover on the album. On one hand, there’s the previously mentioned Roger Miller cover, then, you also have a stellar cover of the Eddy Arnold hit, “I’m Letting You Go”. The outstanding vocal work from Roy Drusky, mixed with a perfectly sparser arrangement, results in an outstanding track that you can’t not like. Also a Hidden Gem contender.
“Please Don’t Let Me Love You Anymore” is the album’s final original piece. A good quality, mid-tempo track that possesses a strong melody, along with some great steel guitar work, as well. You could also argue that this track could have been a great single, as well.
The album wraps with “You’re My World”, one of the great melodies of the 1960’s. Originally an Italian hit, the English version was first a hit for Cilla Black in 1964, and later, Helen Reddy in 1977. I first became familiar with this track, as a child on Glen Campbell’s “Gentle On My Mind” album (read that review, here). Whereas Glen’s version gets a little over-dramatic in places, the Roy Drusky version comes off a bit more restrained, but not without losing all of the drama, which is good for this piece. A piece that will certainly challenge anyone’s vocal range, it’s a very good end to this album.
Long out of print, I did locate several used copies in the price range of $5 to $15.
I give the title track the Standout Track. Hidden Gem is difficult, as there are several worthy contenders. I am going with “At Times’ Everybody’s Blind”. Weakest Track, I go with “Silver Wings” only because the arrangement is a little too slick.
Overall, a very good body of work from Roy Drusky. There’s enough difference in the compositions, the arrangements, and the tempo, that keeps any feeling of sameness at bay. Some might scoff that it’s too much Nashville Sound, but with maybe one exception, I would disagree. It’s a solid body of work that’s already been burned to CD from my vinyl copy, and has been played several times over the past week. This one’s a 4.5 out of 5.
Categories: Classic Album Reviews Tags: 1970, All My Hard Times, Charley Pride, Cilla Black, classic country, country albums, Country Music, country oldies, Eddy Arnold, Glen Campbell, Helen Reddy, Mercury Records, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Roger Miller, Roy Drusky
Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always found on the turntable, in the CD player, or in the MP3 player. Today’s Single Of The Day is a 1970 duet hit for Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry. Glen was one of Country music’s biggest names in 1970, not to mention a pretty big Pop star, as well, in addition to hosting a popular television show. Bobbie Gentry has scored a mega hit in 1967 with “Ode To Billy Joe”, but in the time, since, had yet to find the next big hit. This record would continue Glen’s run in the top ten, while giving Bobbie her only top ten Country hit, as well as being her second and last top ten on any chart.
“All I Have To Do Is Dream” is a song from the pen of the legendary Boudleaux Bryant and had been a 1958 Country and Pop hit for The Everly Brothers. The Campbell/Gentry version would be released by Capitol in early 1970, debuting in March. The single would peak at six on the Country chart, while also making the Adult Contemporary top ten and the Pop Top 30, peaking at twenty-seven.
Saving vinyl, one record at a time.
Greetings from Asheville, where good music is spinning on the turntable, as well as in the CD player and in the MP3 player. Your Single Of The Day brings back a Glen Campbell hit from the early 1980’s. While Glen’s biggest hits came in the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s, as the new decade dawned, his singles just weren’t performing like they used to. Glen hadn’t seen the top ten since 1977’s “Sunflower” and since that time, his best efforts had been “Can You Fool” (#16, 1978) and “I’m Gonna Love You” (#13, 1979). His 1980 efforts totally tanked, not even breaking into the Country 50, as his longtime association with Capitol was coming to an end (he would leave in 1981). By the end of the year, though, things did begin to turn, as his recording of the theme to the Clint Eastwood film, “Any Which Way You Can”, began it’s climb and in early ’81, would return Glen to the top ten. While his two Capitol singles for the year failed to gain any notice, it was his movie songs that saved him. In addition to the previously mentioned Eastwood theme, Glen also had success, in the Fall, with another track from another movie.
While the movie The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia may never go down as a classic, it did enjoy a moderate run of success at the time of it’s release, in the Summer of 1981. The album’s soundtrack was released on the Mirage label (a division of Atlantic), and in July, they released Glen’s song “I Love My Truck” as a single. It’s trek began slowly; it would be nearly September, before it broke into the Country 40, where it would move up until it peaked at fifteen.
Over the years, I’ve heard people talk about how bad this song is/was. And while I wouldn’t rank it as one of his top hits, I don’t think it’s as bad as some have claimed. Yeah, it’s a little on the goofy side, but let’s face it, deep down, it’s what most of us truck owners think, right?
Saving vinyl, one record at a time.